Why We Don’t Need More Foreign Students

Why We Don’t Need More Foreign Students


A response to :

Why We Need More International Students

Published on February 28, 2017

By Michael Crow

President at Arizona State University

(This post originally appeared in CS Monitor.)

He got his PhD in the Mid-1980s in Public Administration — Science and Technology Policy. He got a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies about 10 years earlier. I always like to know who I am dealing with,

Dr. Michael Crow stated, “Before he launched Zip2, before he started SpaceX and Tesla Motors, South African native Elon Musk earned undergraduate degrees in economics and physics at the University of Pennsylvania. The 24-year-old’s next step was Stanford University to work on a doctorate in energy physics, although he deferred after two days to pursue his fortunes in the emerging internet.”

It must be nice to go from a bachelor’s degree directly to a PhD, although he apparently did not get it, unlike the author of the original piece, Dr. Michael Crow. Elon Musk is personally responsible for creating only 6040 jobs.

Larry Page = approx. 25,000 jobs created (out of 50,000 at Google)
Bill Gates = approx. 55,000+ created (Microsoft, Gates foundation, others)
Sam Walton = 2.1 million (Walmart).

This is all according to << https://www.quora.com/To-date-approximately-how-many-jobs-has-Elon-Musk-created>&gt;.

So, although he is in the top 100 billionaires (94th I think) he did not create that many jobs. He has taken a lot from our economy, in other words, gotten rich!

He had two years of college in South Africa before transferring to U of Penn. He was there only 3 years (one extra year to get a second bachelor’s degree). So, he spent all of three years in American schooling. Who says that he did not learn most from the university in South Africa and their public schools?

Dr. Michael Crow wrote, “Two decades later, it’s clear that the United States has significantly benefited because this Pretoria-born son of a South African father and Canadian mother sought to study in the United States. While few can match the business acumen and creative prowess of Musk, now an American citizen and multi-billionaire, millions of young people from around the world have been lured by the quality and promise of American higher education, as well as its potential to improve their lives. In the last year, according to the Institute of International Education, more than 1 million international students came to the US, including 329,000 from China, 166,000 from India and 61,000 each from Saudi Arabia and South Korea.”

Given the small number of jobs he has created I would have to disagree that the US has significantly benefited from his presence. Given that more than 1 million foreign students have come to US colleges and very few have become billionaires or even benefited our country much I would say that foreign students are just taking up spaces that Americans could be filling.

When you get right down to it the American universities have not produced that many millionaires. Only about 2% have achieved the American dream of becoming wealthy and not all of those college graduates. So, why is it people come here expecting to become millionaires? I know that European newspapers touted the New World as the place to be because the streets were paved with gold, since the 16th Century. Why is this myth still around and it is a myth?

Dr. Michael Crow submitted, “At a time when the current administration’s travel ban stopped visas from seven countries and created uncertainty more widely, it’s important to recognize how significant the impact may be on the international students studying here – and the institutions that both educate and depend on them. As these students have come to the United States to invest in their futures, American colleges and the nation itself have gotten a remarkable return on their investment.”

A remarkable RIO? For Elon Musk it has been a remarkable ROI but not for the American people.

Dr. Michael Crow posited, “In the 2015-2016 school year, the overall economic contribution of international students in the United States was $32.8 billion, creating more than 400,000 jobs, according to the Association of International Educators. The impact can be felt in every state in the country, including $5.2 billion in California and $3.9 billion in New York. The top 10 states – which includes Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan – experienced a $21 billion benefit, accounting for some 265,000 jobs. In my own state of Arizona, ranked 13th in the country, the economic contribution is $620 million and 8,500 jobs.

I noticed that Texas, the second largest state by population (and area for that matter) was not on the list that is mentioned above. This $32.8 billion is wealth going to those foreign students? I cannot find the original study so I cannot dispute these two so-called facts. However, Let’s assume that they are correct. Even if 400,000 jobs were created, how many were destroyed? They never tell us that. Let me see — 400,000 out of 145 million jobs is less than 0.3% of all jobs. This is a glowing endorsement of foreign students? I don’t think so. This is why we need more?

$32.8 Billion out of nearly $20 trillion GDP is about 0.164% of our economy. This is a statistical drop in the bucket. Can we assume that the rest of the economy is being generated by non-foreign students? Ironic how our economy is nearly $20 trillion and our national debt is too.

So, apparently the jobs produce just more than ½ of the percentage of GDP. I mean that those 0.3% of all jobs produced only 0.164% of the wealth or GDP.

Dr. Michael Crow put forth, “But this economic impact is only one piece of the more enduring and consequential effect of an internationally diverse student body. Our nation faces complex global challenges; tackling them requires bringing together talented problem-solvers from every corner of the US and the world. I am proud that our student body includes close to 13,000 international students coming from 135 countries. Their perspectives enrich the quality of dialogue in our classrooms and provide needed input in our scientific and technical research.”

No we do not need people for all over the world to tackle these problems. Again, I went to schools and I did not notice where someone was from, usually. I did not dislike it when a foreign student was there but then again, I never felt enriched by having them there.

Entrepreneurs like to start things (companies) and then move on. People who help these people are usually screwed when the company is sold to someone else that has a long-term view of where they think the company should go. In other words they get laid off. One is taking one’s chances when one goes to work for a startup company. Maybe entrepreneurship is a reason why the average job lasts only about 4 years. So, another reason not to like it!

Dr. Michael Crow declared, “Consider the story of Ngoni Mugwisi, an electrical engineering major from central Zimbabwe. Now a senior at Arizona State, he often studied by candlelight growing up because of the unreliable power grid in his country. Recently awarded a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford, this talented young man is on a mission to help find solutions to Zimbabwe’s energy production and distribution.”

In developing nations power grids are being overloaded and this causes brownouts and blackouts. Their supply of power was adequate for their original needs maybe, but now their needs have increased too much for the power grid to handle. Solar power in many of these nations might be a good idea, since many are near the equator and have plenty of sunshine.

I find it a wee bit difficult to swallow when someone uses one person as an  example of anything, good or bad. Alone it is an anomaly. It is not a trend and we should not make a Sweeping Generalization based on one instance (or even two mentioned in the original piece). Even two is not a trend. These represent a too small of a sample size to be statistically important or accurate.

Dr. Michael Crow propounded, “But as much as Mr. Mugwisi has learned about engineering and entrepreneurship, other students have learned a great deal from him: His experience brought home the daily reality of unreliable electricity and the need to find creative solutions in response. Not only has he launched a project to extract ground water for wells using solar energy, he also started a student group called Africa Rises to promote African culture and dispel myths about his continent.”

Why the need to promote African culture here and to dispel myths about his continent? How do you know how much, if anything was learned from him?

Dr. Michael Crow stated, “These are the kinds of experiences that enrich us all, without which we as a nation will be poorer, both culturally and economically. And likely less safe: We all benefit from Pakistani scholars, for example, who are seeking ideas to solve the rolling power blackouts in their country – efforts that will help Pakistan advance economically, providing greater employment and education to their young men and women and, in the process, become more stable and secure.”
How are we as a nation poorer? We cannot learn that much from the students. They do not know that much and especially in STEM you will not spend very much time getting to know your fellow students. To truly get know a different culture one must immerse oneself into that culture or as the old saying goes, one must walk a mile in their moccasins.

Dr. Michael Crow stated, “The United States is a leader in innovation, buoyed by the dynamism of our colleges and universities. We have the chance to continue this forward momentum as long as we remain committed to making the most of our world’s brainpower. I have seen how a diverse population of creative problem-solvers, bringing together the widest possible array of perspectives, positions us to maintain that leadership.”

Again, we have not exhausted American brainpower yet. We should educate our own before educating the world. Trump has it right—America first. When will these globalists ever understand this? I am guessing, never!

Dr. Michael Crow explained, “Choosing this path does not mean being naïve or ignoring the dangers that exist in our world. The more we engage globally and encourage the fullest possible intersection of people and ideas, the better equipped we will be to address the challenges that beset us.”

Why do we need to engage globally? Our founding fathers wanted us to stay out of foreign entanglements. We should mind our own business and take care of things here at home. We are not going to cure all of the world’s problems. We have not solved our own.

Dr. Michael Crow concluded, “Who knows how many more people like Elon Musk – or, for that matter, Russian-born Sergey Brin (Google) or French-born Iranian Pierre Omidyar (eBay) – may provide profound contributions to our country? Rather than face a dwindling population of international students at our colleges and universities – uncertain about their future and wondering whether they are welcome here – it should be our national goal to expand these numbers.”

Most of these foreign students go back home after they get their education. Their visas expire. As you said about Mr. Mugwisi, he’s going back home to solve his country’s energy problem. He will not help out our country. Same can be said for the Pakistani students. How do they help the US out?

No it should not be a goal to expand these number of foreign students. Take care of our own first. When and if that ever gets done then we worry about the rest of the world. We should try to solve our own problems before tackling the world’s problems, if those problems at all.

How many more people like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs are we not having because they could not get into college because of the foreign students? These two examples may be bad because both dropped out of college, but there are many US citizens born and raised that have created companies that created jobs. Nobody ever touts these individuals. They tout the handful of foreign students.

Me thinks that the good doctor is worried about losing his 13,000 foreign students, even though the greater majority do not come from the 7 countries in which a TEMPORARY ban is being made.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: